Sprinkle Coins

Gypsy Heart

Gold Member
Nov 29, 2005

Joseph Shoemaker of Grayson, Carter County received the other day, in
payment for a horse sold to an old farmer living near the Lewis County
line, $46.00 among which there were three of the famous "sprinkle" dollars
of the early thirties.

It has been more than twenty years since any of these peculiar coins have
been found in this section, and the production of these will recall the
queer character who flourished in the earlier part of the century and went
down to his grave with a secret that was never unearthed. Josiah Sprinkle,
the person in question, lived in one of the roughest sections of Lewis
County and on a line probably fifty miles north of Grayson. In his day,
Washington, the County seat of Mason and one of the oldest towns in this
part of the state, was thriving. One day Sprinkle, then well along in
years, appeared at Washington with a buckskin pouch full of silver dollars
of his own make. In every respect they appeared the equal of the National
coin. The weight was more than present and the quality and ring of the
metal were all that could be asked.

He spent them freely, and they were taken on the assurance of Sprinkle that
there was nothing wrong with them beyond the fact that he, and not the
United States Mint had coined them. Asked where he got the silver, he
laughed and shook his head knowingly.

"It does not matter where I got and there is plenty of it left," was as much
as he would ever offer as an explanation.

The inscriptions on the coins were rudely outlined, and in no wise was any
attempt made at imitation of the legal coin. Rudely outlined on one side
was an owl while on the other side was a six cornered star. The edges were
smooth, no attempt having being made at milling. The coins were
considerably larger than the regulation article and thicker as well. Upon
various occasions Sprinkle would visit the town, and in every instance he
would spend them more and more freely. At one time he volunteered the fact
that he had a silver mine in the hills but no one succeeded in inducing the
old man to reveal the whereabouts.

Finally the government agencies learned of the matter and came on to
investigate. Sprinkle was arrested and brought into court but the dollars
were proved to be pure silver, without alloy, worth in fact a trifle more
than a dollar each and after an exciting trial he reached down into a
cavernous pocket and pulled out a bag of fifty of the coins and promptly
paid his attorney in the presence of the astonished officials. Sprinkle was
never afterward bothered, and continued until his death to make the
dollars, how and where no one ever knew. He lived alone, having his hut
away from relatives, who lived close at hand, and he died suddenly carrying
the secret of his find to his grave.


Hero Member
Feb 12, 2009
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This is a very interesting story, have you ever seen one of these coins?


Hero Member
Sep 3, 2008
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I haven't seen one in person...have seen several posts about them...seems like Swiftsearcher or someone else that posts here had a picture of one of them. Would love to have one!


Silver Member
May 7, 2005
Saint Petersburg, FL
Detector(s) used
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Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Sounds like the Yoachum brothers that minted their own from a silver mine in S.W. Missouri in the early 1800's...
Here's some photos of some of the reproduction coins made by a couple guys that found minting dies with the inscription of the Yoachum name on them. They had to mint them from lead, because one of the dies had a crack in it and they were afraid silver would further destroy the die for good.

Bran <><


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  • Yoachum 1.jpg
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  • Yoachum 2.jpg
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